Bali Life / Uncategorized

Indonesian Expressions and How to Use Them

Halo, apa kabar?

When our guests ask whether or not Bahasa Indonesia is relatively easy to learn, the answer is yes and no. Yes, it can be easy because a lot of the nouns are pretty similar to English, like hotel, aktivitas, fasilitas, kafe. The differences are only in the spelling and pronunciation, so you will most likely be able to guess what people talk about by picking up a word or two – providing they talk slow. 

And how can our language be difficult to master? Well, because the words us native speakers use in daily conversation are different to the ones you may have learnt in school. The only time we speak and write formal Bahasa Indonesia is when we address it to the elderly or highly respected ones. On top of that, every part of Indonesia has a different accent, and its own language that is completely different from one another. Interesting isn’t it how very diverse Indonesia is?

So, as promised, we have picked for you some of the general expressions we often use regardless of where we are from. Hope you find them useful and don’t forget to practice before your next holiday in Bali so you can surprise our Padma family with your added “speaking- like-a local” skill 😉 

Makasih (mu-cu-seeh)

Shortened from the word “terima kasih” which means thank you, just like how we say thanks in English. “Terima” means to receive or to accept, while “kasih” means love, so the two words literally translate to “love accepted”. 

Aduh! (u-dooh)

One of the most used and versatile expressions that actually…does not even have a meaning. Very often, it is used for expression of physical pain, disappointment, anger, or sympathy.

Jalan-jalan (juh-lun juh-lun)

When a word is repeated twice in Bahasa Indonesia, usually it simply means “many”. However, it is not the case with this one, “jalan” means to walk, but “jalan-jalan” is to go sightseeing. It doesn’t necessarily mean walking on foot, any type of traveling, near and far can be called “jalan-jalan”.

Lihat-lihat (lee-hut lee-hut)

One more repeated word that is unrelated to quantity. The word “lihat” means to see or to look, but when you say it twice, the meaning changes to “to browse”.

Gemas (guh-mus)

There is probably no word in English that can directly translate this, “gemas” is used when something or somebody is too cute to handle, you have the urge to pinch or squeeze them. 

Kan! (khun!) 

One very short yet powerful word, that means “I told you so”. Commonly used by mothers to their kids when telling them off. 

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